The Senate, after passing a 1-point-2 trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill, has now turned its attention to a 3-point-5 trillion-dollar budget blueprint backed only by Democrats. The budget bill is controversial not just for its unprecedented price tag but for a slew of Democratic policy goals on everything from climate change and Medicare to immigration reform for migrant farmworkers and others. Judiciary Chair and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin stated, “It is clear that the only viable option for passing immigration reform is through the reconciliation process.”
He’s referring to the budget process. But Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says it’s up to the Senate Parliamentarian and whether she thinks the issue’s relevant in a budget bill, and says, “It only matters what the Parliamentarian thinks. So, that’s the only way to get it done…but if you want to get immigration done, just secure the border and you can get almost anything done, you want to get dome when it comes to immigration.”
Durbin argues a pathway to citizenship would help secure the border, including for many undocumented farmworkers, stating, “Hundreds of thousands of undocumented farmworkers, who account for about half of our nation’s farm workforce, do backbreaking work every day to put food on our tables. These members of our communities have more than earned their path to citizenship.” And after 36 years of the two parties failing on immigration and a chronic farm labor shortage, Durbin says the budget resolution that could pass this week with just Democratic votes is the only pathway left to reform.
The bigger question is whether a one-party budget to be finalized in the fall has enough support from moderate Democrats and whether the House Speaker and liberals hold up infrastructure until, as demanded, they get both measures.